Category Archives: life habits

Why the hey am I so angry?? Get a grip. (I sorta did so now I can talk about it) So Odd.

Dang!

That was a rough PTSD last week. (holding my head.)

It seems that my PTSD flares (or I make it flare….keep reading) and leaves me spiraling into -

…. exhaustion, irritation, and hypervigilance – plus anxiety. Sounds like a ball of fun, eh?

But last week….it included ANGER.

And I mean ANGER with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!

You are thinking….


“Did she scream and yell?”

“Did she throw things?”

No. I did not. (okay I might have… but I not at the kids. Wow. I’m amazing. sheesh.) 

It was almost a “sad anger”. Sad that this mental health issue is here. Sad that it affects us still. Sad that I cannot, consistently, wake up and just feel “good”. But, it was also an unusual anger that I allowed to build.

The anger … this type …. was definitely new to me. 

I sort of wanted to just be alone until the feeling went away, but I knew that was a bad idea and also not that reasonable.

However,  I wanted it “gone”. I am not used to “super angry”. It is a bit un-nerving. 

[okay...we are not talking 'murder-angry' or anything...though I did 'murder' a few cartons of ice cream last week]

By last Friday, I was standing in our room, crying. 

I was trying to do my hair or throw some makeup on or whatever (I feel better dressed, etc when I’m struggling with PTSD)

Jim walked in … stood in front of me …. and I said, “I have NO idea how to make this go away. None. If I did I would. I want to be mean. I want to scream. I want to tell people off. I have controlled it all but this is not me and it needs to end.”

What’s a guy to do? It’s not like he can come over and give me a big hug. I’m irritable, itchy, sensitive to touch when in this state…a hug would have made me scream.

Jim was left with the same phrase that has begun to haunt us…”We can get through this.”

To know neglect of his own, I already knew that. I didn’t, truly, expect to be that angry for days and days. 

The scary part was not being able to understand it. 

Now that it’s subsided, I can see through it a bit more. I can see why I acted the way I did when that sad-anger was sitting on top of me.

I let things build up.

Specifically, stressers/triggers. 

I lied to myself that I could handle it all last week.

There were events occurring last week that were super-struggles. But I was not true to myself about my ability to handle it all. 

I, instead subtly let the stress of each situation build, and I think the “mound-o-stress” (ha)  turned into a strong anger that I did not understand until the feeling left.

Some stressers were related to a situation that I do not blog about (out of respect) but which causes me significant sadness.

I did not consider that those situations would bring on such anger. 

All the {oh I wanna insert some sort of mean adjective but I won’t} specifics in this situation are NOT new in any way shape or form. I was sure I could handle it all.

I have experienced “regular” anger towards the situation, the people involved, the losses we’ve experienced…but not “THIS” anger.

THIS anger was deep. Sad. Until it was dissected, um like right  NOW, it was just raw, sad, anger that was leaving me confused last week.

Add to that, just before the difficult stress that occurred last week, we had enjoyed a long weekend away. That was JOY … coming home is NOT. [enter stress]

(the following may seem petty…but to someone getting her brain all-balanced again…it is SO SO SO not…)

I LOVE home. I NEED home. It is my “safe” spot.

But…I do not like a super-messy home.  But, durrnit, coming home from a long weekend, at a beautiful and sandy beach with five kids,  means MESS. 

{insert ANGER … at least that was what happened when I saw all that vacation stuff laying around…why???}

I am not a “Has to Be Perfect” Stepford Housewife!  I have gotten OH SO MUCH better at letting a lot of messiness go. 

I let it fly out that dang proverbial window ….. I was even getting better at that BEFORE PTSD…(pat me on the back…  ;)

But MESS that comes through the door and sits in piles for a day or two…blah. gag. boo. stress. [anger growing]

You are thinking, “Just deal with it. Just put it away.”

Yeah. Well, um, can you come put it away? Or better yet…Wash it and put it away? While life continues?

(Said in complete kindness of course…sorta)

One of the things a PTSD sufferer deals with is lack of focus and a component of this is that SMALL things seem MASSIVE. Unattainable. Why-Even-Try-I-Cannot-Do-It.

Now, medium to hard stuff? Somehow that does not affect me as much.

Take homeschool for instance. Teaching my kids is a pretty “big” thing on a daily basis. A huge responsibility. 

If I’m feeling even just barely so-so…I can do homeschool. I feel great about it!  But there is NO WAY IN HADES I could hang up some clothes in my closet. WHA????  

It is so weird to be me. 

AND, adding to the above events (stressers),  there were a few other more relational-yuks that were occurring that absorbed me last week.

AND, last but certainly not least – adding to the above ,  our “Nala” (3 yr old, sweet momma-dog) ran away from a friend’s house while we were gone. (I mentioned that in my last post…sigh)

We were looking for her all week in 90-100 degree temps. I struggle, deeply, (like we all do) when my kids are hurting but I did not think to associate THOSE feelings with triggering my PTSD so much. 

{insert stress-obviously. But I did not ‘feel’ angry about this event. Sad? Sure. Angry? not so much. This is one of the reasons some of this hit between the eyes maybe?}

As I am typing this all out … at this very moment … I am thinking,

Andrea, it probably wasn’t all THAT unhealthy to feel such sad – anger last week.  For the love of pete, give yourself a break. Why didn’t you last week? 


Yes, it was new and strong and scary. But why are you still surprised at PTSD stuff?

Why didn’t you wave the white flag and just HIDE for a few days? Why do you push so hard?

You have PTSD. You ARE sick. [growl]

You cannot plow through like you used too. You need to remember stuff like this for next time.

Because there might be a next time when you feel like a complete failure because you want to scream, and throw, or act out in anger-induced ways. You are smarter than this!”

Dang this is real writing. Here’s to transparency!

I hope my kids read this in the future (hey future kids…I adore you)..and know “me” from all of this. 

Mercy. 

How could they not, eh? 

And I am certainly not scared of them seeing their “true” Momma who isn’t perfect. They see her in-real-life right now!

Reading about it in the future will probably be humorous….”Ha! I remember when Mom was doing that! She was a trip!” 

or “Yep. She sure freaked about that sand.” 

or “Wow. Mom REALLY fought to have our family be tight even when she was struggling.” [this one is my favorite]

I am happy the sad-anger has left…but so has the stresses that were mentally straining me, although “Nala” is still missing. [sadness]

Apparently these events were desperately more difficult on me than I was aware of.

And there’s where the rubber hits the road. 

That’s when the anger slipped I think. I let it all build until is passed “irritation” and slid right into raw, pure, sad, hot anger.

So now what? Hide in my house forever? Never interact with others? Stay away from sand-related long weekends?

No….I simply need to plan better. 

If you are a person reading this who is or knows of people who struggling with mental health wellness…please talk about being completely honest with yourself (or help your friends be honest with themselves…) 

Sometimes it is HARD to allow yourself to be constrained by the truth.

“Will this event draw you out long term?” 


“Add up all the stressing events going on yesterday, today, tomorrow. Can you handle more?”

That kind of stuff. That kind of HONEST stuff. That hurts. Makes you feel like a failure, a louse, a weakling, if you have to say “NO” oftentimes.

I used to be good at asking myself these questions…Jim was especially good at seeing events that would put me in bed for the famous 31 hour sleeping events. [those haven't happened in a happy long while. Improvement!]

But, now that I’ve gotten somewhat healthier, (hey…don’t I sound oh so healthy?! ha) I’ve gotten out of the habit of ‘checkin’ myself like I was.

OR I assume I am bionic and can plow through difficult things with ease and comfort, and be fine the following days.

Well. If there were ANY doubts (oh please)…I am not bionic. ;)

I am a fighter who fails (danggit…) but who, with the help of God, Jim, kids, close friends, and ….

(truly…and I don’t give a fig if this sounds odd…because….if you are reading this then you read this entire novella so you get my ‘weird’ a bit.)

….you guys.  

Here, I have an outlet to throw it out.

I have a place to write my brain down and to hope & pray that what I am writing, as raw and as somewhat embarrassing but yet oh so true it all is, MIGHT be touching a reader right now.

THAT also pushes me and makes me a fighter. 

I can come back out of the corner of the fighting ring, makes me put my (pink) boxing gloves back on, and go another round. 

I am pretty sure I lost this last round but I am hoping to make up for it or should I simply say “improve” this next round.

Because what HAS happened doesn’t necessarily need to be “made up for” but it can be used to IMPROVE oneself, yes? [this may be one of my best blogging sentences ever ... I should probably take heed.]

Wowza…thhat was some really real writing!

Okay…push me outta the corner…
Andrea

Especially those that don’t have it…..need it desperately.

This has NEVER happened to us before.

HOME.

Our 4 yr old pup ran away from a friend’s HOME Sunday evening. “Nala” was sighted headed, south, towards OUR HOME Tuesday. This means a 6 lb dog, in 90 degree heat, has walked at least 7 miles, admist cars, in less than 2 days.

Poor thang..She WANTS to come home…She is SO close… She just wants HOME.

 


[THIS is Nala....sigh....Praying she shows up on our front step or we get a phone call that someone found her....some hearts hurt around here...]

I know this is SUCH a stretch but….But, pondering the instinct a dog has to return “home, even after months in some cases, has me contemplating what ‘HOME’ truly means. It’s a dang big deal.

Let’s pretend we are not talking about “Nala the Dog” for a second….but a baby that doesn’t have a home. I know…big stretch. Canine versus Human…HUGE difference…but…

I’ve been dwelling on getting Nala HOME since Sunday. It’s natural for my brain to meander into other avenues of what “HOME” means…to all sorts of all of us.


A baby…don’t you think…don’t you KNOW they have an instinct for a Mother? A Father? 

They KNOW when they do not have that. They KNOW when they do not have a HOME. A PERMANENT place of love and safety.


If the baby grows into toddlerhood in this same situation…be it in an orphanage, a temporary foster home, etc., does an instinct kick in to LOOK for “Mom” or “Dad”.

I know for a fact it does. 

If they do not find a parent, or someone who functions like a permanent parent, they do not develop the ability to BOND. 

To know the safety net of “HOME”. 

To understand unconditional love. To know the feeling of falling asleep without fear.

And the longer they are without ‘HOME’ the more jaded they become. But…jaded is removable..ask us how we know …. phew.


Children…starting at a startling young age…yearn for ‘HOME’. A HOME.


Our Tye [this is how we know...] did not come “HOME”, from China,  until age 2.25. 

It was APPARENT that he HAD yearned for a home but had not found it and, as a result, had hardened himself against what he did find…which was chaos, transitional caregivers, boredom, and hunger.




How do we know he had an instinct for a HOME, A Mommy, A Daddy? Because he was so closed off from all that was normal for a 2 year old’s heart. 

He was walled up inside himself. 

He was behind a wall of protection he’d set up for himself, mentally, because he had not found the things he instinctively knew he needed. Up went the walls.

It took God, and us, over 2 years to break those walls down…and to let his instinct for ‘HOME” resurface.  

He had to learn to trust again….to learn to go to sleep at night without fear that there would not be food the next day or that someone would take his only possession…his shoes. 




When he came home, he REFUSED to take his shoes off for months. He WANTED his shoes to be there ALWAYS. He had substituted a pair of shoes for a set of parents. [this world is so hard]

high quality and good price for kid shoe
 [they are similar to these but orange..of course I saved them ;)

When we finally had him as ours forever… he went to sleep STANDING UP in his crib….flat-out-FEAR. He was on HIGH ALERT. 

He also screamed his lungs out while he tried to decide if he was safe or not. Was this HOME? He had lost the instinct for such a thing and was crazy-confused about what was happening.

It did not matter what we, new and -again- random to him, people did to help him sleep…he had to figure it out on his own. Decide that he was safe. That his shoes would still be there. That there would be food. 

That, what he wanted and needed the most but did not quite know what it was, our LOVE would be there when he woke up. Eventually…he knew he needed it but he had to be ‘taught’ to let those feelings back out and to rest in the security of his HOME.


It was an IMMENSE struggle. Some of the hardest years of our lives.


But…now Tye is, mentally, “HOME”. He’s been physically home for 7 years. He’s been mentally home for about 5 or a bit less. We knew when it happened. It was the 100+ days we spent, alone as a family, in Guatemala during Aven’s adoption process.

He ‘settled’ during that time. He decided we were his and he was ours. The timing of that trip was divine for so many reasons….And one was to help Tye’s give that one last “nod of the head” that ‘this is going to work’.

HOME.

LOVE.


It’s instinct.

WE ALL NEED IT.

Especially those that don’t have it.


If you are called to adopt…If you think about adoption all the time…If you lay awake at night thinking about “your baby”…..


You know what to do. Do it . 

Adoption is not on everyone’s plate…but it is on some. As much as we are not to be ‘inside-the-envelope-type-people’ (snirk)…Others LOVE the routine of the corporate life.  We all have our own paths.

However, if you feel the adoption bug but think there is NO WAY….We have been there. Knowing we were to do adopt but it did NOT make logical or financial sense.

However…It has worked out. God stretched dollars, blessed business, and had our backs.


 I cannot promise roses and long walks on the beach (smile)…..but I can promise a sense of wholeness that is not found in ANY other way…if you are laying awake at night thinking about “your baby”….

Andrea

It is Father’s Day.. And…

There’s more to being a Father than a DNA-connection or sitting on the bleachers with a phone to your head. 

I throw my husband a massive high-five and then jump and scream with crazy that my kids have him.

I find myself hard-pressed to think of anything better for my kids than their Dad…..

I am so daggone, up-a-tree thankful for Jim…, the Dad who loves, educates, protects, provides, disciplines, plays, leads, wrestles, jokes, races, challenges, and adores our 5 God-handed kids.

How desperately kids instinctually yearn for a strong, Father figure. I’m thinking of those kids without families…maybe in orphanages …. without a Poppa …. to lead them.

And, yet again, I think God for HIS Fathering and that He can step in where others have stepped out.

But, again, Jim….thanks for stepping in my love … Life’s okay as long as you’ve got our compass.


So…let’s take a glimpse into how you discipline, educate, disciple, and lead our kidz …. wink….




We all adore you…more than you know I’m pretty sure because days just roll by and you might not get told how amazing you are or how thankful we all are for you.

But, the sentiment is there and our children will be adults with exceptionally more impact with you as their “Daddy”….

thank you for holding the compass…
me

AND…

Happy Dad & Grandpa Day :)


Jim’s parents…who I fondly refer to as “Mommasita” and “Poppabear”…. the ‘PoppaBear’ moniker is quite fitting, eh?! 


And my Daddy….Bruce William. Cancer took him at age 42. Unbelievable. However, today I was (cyberly) talking to someone else who has lost their father and came to the realization that my Dad is NOT ‘just’ a MEMORY but still a strong force within my life.


 I am, symbolically, standing on his shoulders learning what it means to be have struggles and to fight them. I am learning from his sucesses and his mishaps…but that’s what parents are for I suppose…wow…that was fun to speak of my Dad in the ‘present tense’…that is hard to do. 


But what would I do to see him play with his 7 grandkids? Oh my…you name it. He never got to hold or kiss any of them…but they ALL know who “Grandpa Bruce” is. I am proud of that.


PSS: On a lighter note…I think the words at the beginning of this post are ‘highlighted’ because they are some of my thoughts from Facebook today.  My little brain is too gobbled to figure out how to un-highlight them w/o retyping (God forbid I retype something … smile)


So…please bear with my little brain tonight. It’s had a bit of a day…

This picture sums me up this week.

This blasted week.

BLAST THIS WEEK!

I have been so anxious and excited to write Tye’s “birthday post” (he turned the big “9″ Monday:)

….but….


Well…see the picture….I’m asleep…or am about to go to sleep, or just woke up and can’t focus, or am thinking of sleep. 

Next week WILL be better for this girl … 

RIGHT?!!

Tell me I am right or…well…um…I will promise to have a very bad dreams about you??! ;)
ZZZZZzzzzzzz….

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder….it is time to EXIT STAGE LEFT please. NOW. asap.

Problem is…I have had some very major ‘triggers’ this week…thus the excess sleep. 

My brain likes to ignore the real world when it’s ‘triggered’. 

Isn’t it nice of my brain to just to ‘shut down’ and forget that it’s in charge of a real human who has real kids and a real husband that she’d like to see once in a while?! 

Bad Brain. Bad.

Please don’t forget about me and my little blog. It’s not my blog’s fault. Poor whittle blog…getting ignored cuz of mean ol’ PTSD. 

(I know…I posted last week..and it was sorta an epic post…but..I miss you people :)


Well….my sweet little blog …. and my precious readers… ‘I VILL BE BAUCK’….like Monday. Or tomorrow. Or  Sunday. Only my brain knows.

ANDREA
ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz…..

(maybe this would help?)

(an on-the-go-pillow and a high-fashion “snuggie”. But I think my brain would still know I was walking and semi-useful.  danggit!)

I probably killed 5 baby birds tonight but I just..I just…

I just could not take it anymore !!


http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/images/films/2008julyaug/tech_Slightly_Scarlet_1956_.jpg

The caked-on-the-side-of-the-bird-cage bird excrement. 

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-market-upc-02.jpg
The residue of old or uneaten bird food reeking of being old or uneaten. 

http://us.cdn4.123rf.com/168nwm/morajiero/morajiero1103/morajiero110300037/9189390-ananas-eating-parrot.jpg

The colonies of fruit flies residing in, around, above, below, to the side, diagonally, and within the bird cage.

http://www.onepennysheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/fruitfly.jpg

The perches being coated with…yep…more bird exrement.

http://images.travelpod.com/users/jamesandgwen/1.1276371296.bird-cages-ubud.jpg

So.

Well.

I did EXACTLY WHAT [stupid] “google” told me NOT to do.

(chewing fingernails, looking sideways, knees knocking, goosebumps on back of my neck…)

I….

I…..

http://us.cdn3.123rf.com/168nwm/morajiero/morajiero1103/morajiero110300036/9189385-dirty-mouth-parrot.jpg

(if you are a MAJOR lover of birds….you should just stop reading. Seriously. I want you to still like me. So. Go back to Facebook. Go back to surfing for another goofy blog…Just..well..RUN!)

http://www.curatorofshit.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Curator_Automation-Birdcag.jpg

I…..

I….

[gasp...big breath..wait..choke..cough..cough...one cannot 'gasp' AND take a 'big breath' at the same time... cough..hack...sheesh..]

CLEANED.

http://www.myconfinedspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bird-cage-hair-hat-700x469.jpg

YES!  THERE! I said it.

I DISTURBED THE LOVEBIRD’s FIVE GLORIOUS EGGS.


http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm30/davstrong78/kid-dunce-hat.jpg 


BUT..But…..


I just couldn’t take it. 


I.
I.
I.



http://www.coconiki.com/pics/news/tweety_sick_1.jpg 

 Well…the dang bird were not even supposed to lay so many eggs. I have NO clue how they are going to keep five eggs warm AND alive in this house….


and…


I NEEDED…LIKED….NEEDED the cage to be clean.


OH. WAIT.

http://www.inkity.com/shirtdesigner/prints/clipArt1/N5781836.png


Did I mention the lovebird cage is in our bedroom?

http://0.tqn.com/d/hotels/1/0/c/W/lovenest.jpg


Yeah.


Seemed so romantic.


Symbolic.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NCdX-k-on2c/SjN3dkNH9SI/AAAAAAAACNs/QWnKYYTD1fE/s400/lovebirds1.jpg



Two birds…mated for life…


Jim and I …. married forever…..

http://origin.kaboodle.com/hi/img/c/0/0/15e/8/AAAADN-I3CQAAAAAAV6LdQ.jpg?v=1307714085000


But.


Well.

I might have ruined that entire “mental picture” I had going…cuz now,  apparently I’ve caused stress to the birds (a vacuum hose in the cage is NOT THAT LOUD birds….come on! )..



Who knows if we will have baby lovebirds or not ….


but…


I no longer have fruit flies, decaying birdfood, or dried poop in a birdcage in MY room.

http://travelblog.portfoliocollection.com/FeaturedImage/human_rights_for_all.jpg


I am chosing to be okay with that and if something happens to the eggs…the vacuum hose cleaning the inside of the cage is OUR LITTLE SECRET PEOPLE!      SHUSH!


My kids do NOT need to know of my minor “bird gestation” infraction.


*wink*
Andrea


http://www.room111heroes.com/elizabethI05.jpg

My Son is fifteen. But. I share him with another Momma. Let’s talk about it.

Our Chase.


My Sunshine.


Jim’s “Orange Pumpkin”.


Aven’s “Squeezy”.


Tye’s Protector.


Zane’s Idol.


Trey’s Best Friend.


Irina’s son.


Max’s son.


An entire family’s son that they do not have the honor to encounter day-to-day.   Who know Chase was happily adopted at age 14 mos, from the orphanage where he was taken after being in the hospital for 3 mos. after his birth. He was in a rural Russian hospital for those 3 mos due to prematurity, bronchitis, and failure to thrive.


A family, a Mom, that was in desperate need and left her son in the care of the nurses.  

I have always tried to paint a mental picture of her having/chosing to walk away from her son… I will never get it pictured properly but I honor her for that long walk…where she left part of her heart behind.


BUT! Now, Irina knows Chase IS THRIVING. 

We hired a private investigator to find Chase’s birthparents 3 years ago. It took over a year. Record-keeping is not the same there as in our very organized nation.


But.  Now she KNOWS.  She has pictures. She has video. She has information on his interests, his talents, his love of Jesus.


Every one of Chase’s birthdays makes me feel, truly, connected to Irina.  

To a woman that lives on a different continent, whose daily life is vastly different than mine, who lives in a different culture that is steeped in deep, deep history whereas I live in a relatively new nation that is still establishing and finding our balance.  

I live in complete freedom, whereas Irina lives within a system of “supposed” freedom but one that is not practiced in actuality.

 (We always honor our adopted kids’ birthparents on child’s birthday. The ‘adoption triad’ of birthparents/adoptive parents/child … is represented this year by this neat flower arrangement I found :)

You are wondering if Chase minds if I talk to you all about his heritage.


No. Not at all. 

He is proud of being adopted. He understands, to the extent a 15 yr old can (which is pretty deep), what Irina did for him and why….  

He talks openly about “Miss Irina”, “Mr. Max”, and considers adoption as just one way God can construct a family.


I asked him, on the the 31st (his birthday), if he was thinking of Miss Irina.


He looked at me…sorta sheepishly…and said, “Not really Mom. Is that bad?”  

My response, knowing he is 15 yrs old and thinks about video games more than food, said,”No babe. But I am and I wanted to remind you of how much I love her and am grateful to her because without her I would not have you.”

 (HOW completely AWESOME, eh?! My sis and Bro-in-Law were in Ukraine a few weeks ago. They got Chase authentic (as in used :) Russian military cap with ALL the pins that would denote “Lieutenant” !!!!!  WOW, eh?!!)

“You are right Mom.” …. and he’s back to doing whatever it was he was doing before I asked him ;)   Yep. He’s a teenager.


But, our goal has always been to keep his adoption (all the adoptions) an open topic. As easy to bring up as a “What’s for dinner” type question. 

At this point, we see it playing out in all three of our kiddos who were brought to us via the journey of adoption. And within our ‘homemade’ kiddos. They have questions too.  


We welcome any and all types of questions in regards to the adoption journeys we’ve traveled – first as just “Jim & Andre” and then it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, and Zane” to get Tye home from China. And, finally (so far ;) , it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, Zane, and Tye” to get Aven home from Guatemala. It’s been a group effort :)

It is a beautiful thing. It allows a child to see a bigger world.  A world where love abounds….a world where Moms and Dads go to extraordinary lengths to keep their children safe, fed, to be given opportunity, education, and to be so amazingly self-less as to allow someone else to raise their child.


I am daily amazed by you, my Chaser-Bean.


You can be discouraged and confused one minute and laughing hysterically shortly thereafter.  You bounce back from setbacks or bad days unlike anyone else I have ever met.



I want your perseverance.  I want that gigantic smile that you just cannot hold back.


Most of all, my son, I just want you. And, thanks to Miss Irina and Mr. Max….I have my wish.


I have you … a son that is independently focused on growing his relationship with God, who knows he struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effect but does not use it as an excuse for bad behavior or to not conquer something that is very hard for you (math!!). And you have found your God-Given talents and RAN with them! (music is one of ‘em!)

Tears are rolling down my face as I picture God forming you within the womb, giving you an extra dose of perseverance (because He knew you’d need it)..

…wiring your brain with the ability to heal and conquer FAE..

…piecing your heart together but apparently using larger than normal components because your heart, Chase, it fills a room within seconds….

God giving you a craving that is unlike others…a craving to be generous beyond your years – How many times have you asked me, “Need anything Mom?”, “You doin’ okay Mom?”……  God has never created another one like you my love.

 (Papaw telling all of us about a prank he pulled on Chase awhile back…adorable)

It would be impossible to for there ever to be another “you”.

You are a young man that has fought, (even if we were dragging you through the fight sometimes….years 6-9 come to mind :) to become who YOU want to be…not who we are telling you to be, not who friends are telling you to be, but who YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE.


I am amazed…my son…Irina’s son…God’s son….


Amazed at you and you, without any doubt, have made our entire family something that it could never have been without YOU.


When they handed you to me in a freezing, colorless orphanage in Rostov, Russia on January 17th, 1998… I knew I was holding an angel…My soul felt your angelic spirit the instant I touched you…I felt that, somehow, I had your birthmomma’s permission to take you into the folds of my arms, into the deepest places of my heart and to keep you safe, loved, and nurtured.


It turns out…. that Irina knew you were an angel too and wanted to let you soar.

You are soaring our Angel….. Beyond ALL expectations my… I mean OUR son ….. SOARING.


WE, Miss Irina, Mr. Max, Mom, Dad, your brothers,  and your sister,  … we love you and please use that love to change the world Angel.


With ALL of our LOVE….
Your Momma….and, by proxy, Miss Irina.

 (but…I bet Miss Irina is WAY WAY WAY more normal than us. Sorry ’bout that Sunshine Boy.. ;)

Do I have to experience deep pain to receive great blessing? AND a kickin’ music "video" during a "Combustible Lemons" practice session :)

 So I was in my room having a PTSD pity-party. I was, yet again, probably going to miss out on an event (seeing some of me besties) that’d I’d been looking forward too.

Then….I heard music. LOUD MUSIC.

Not just “music” but I heard my two oldest boys JAMMIN’ downstairs.

I shut my eyes and simply enjoyed the awe that hearing their art brought me.  

Enjoying the progress of their developing talents. Helping me realize that this little pity-party is unnecessary as I am about one of the most blessed people I know.

So, thanx my handsome boys for making your Momma feel uplifted when you didn’t even know you were doing it :)  
(and for the making the video even though you didn’t ‘get’ how hearing you play made me feel so much better…nor did you have any clue why I’d wanna put it on my blog ;)

Now…about feeling “blessed”. 

I heard a phrase the other day that has me really confused.

Here’s the phrase:

“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”    A.W. Tozer 
I simply can’t get my head around this statement.  
I’ve tried to find the body of writing that came before and after this statement, made by Towzer sometime during his life ((April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963 and probably within one of the 40 books he wrote), but I cannot.
As a result, I am giving ‘credit’ for it being slightly out of context, possibly? But, even then, I don’t see this being accurate from a biblical perspective. (his opinion, yes..but still? really?)

I see God punish, provide/allow tests/trials, condone war,  issue plagues, etc.
But I do NOT see where only GREAT blessings comes after God has ON PURPOSE but a believer through a “fire” or a “deep hurt”.
I am the perfect example of a Christ-follower who is stronger in her beliefs after having gone through trials….but….I felt GREATLY blessed before any of my “DEEP” hurts occurred.
The “great blessings” I feel now do feel different but surely that has to do with age, maturity, etc….No ONLY the “great hurts” I’ve experienced.
Yes, I was younger but age doesn’t play a huge role in the Bible. Think David, Samuel, and Joseph. All used at very young ages.

That implies that a teen can feel “greatly blessed”.

As a teen, in many areas of my life, I felt great blessing.
Was my relationship with God as intimate then as now? No. But, intimacy comes with TIME as well as trials. Trials or hurt or pain just cannot be the only way to experience GREAT blessings.
I realize this is Towzer’s opinion. He did not quote scripture. He did say, “It is highly doubtful…” etc.
However, seeing that he was a famous preacher, his stated opinions are often “taught”, “re-used”, and quoted more often than an average person’s opinions would be.
Does this not require a more a bit more due diligence on a person’s part? Maybe he was mis-quoted and he did not say these exact words. Unfortunately, he is not longer living or would have had him on the phone by now!
Truly, these words have bothered me greatly.
I know the God I love has righteous and vengeful anger. I know He does not cower from protecting His people.
But I also don’t see where His word even comes close to saying something like, “To be greatly blessed I will put you through great hurt.”
I see where it says, “To suffer to pure joy.” Or “God can make good out of all.”
Anyways, I’ve been wracking my brain for an individual mentioned in the Bible who was “greatly blessed” without “deep hurt”.
(and “greatly blessed” is based upon personal interpretation I suppose? To some…running water is a “great blessing” to others it is a “new car” to others it is “loyal friends”)….
I cannot think of one but there has to be! 
Or even an individual, not mentioned in Bible per se, that has been richly blessed but has not experienced “deep hurt”

(again…”deep hurt” being up to personal interpretation but surely “deep hurt” would involve loss, physical pain, severe mental anguish, etc.)

PLEASE HELP ME THINK OF SOMEONE…IS IT YOU?!
I seriously need to work through this in my head.
I feel “stuck” spiritually until I do.
(not ‘stuck’ like I ‘give up’ but ‘stuck’ in that it is encompassing my spiritual thought process)

COME ON READERS…Help a girl out!
Since Towzer is no longer available for a phone call…..YOU all are “my Towzer”.

PLEASE give me your thoughts…SERIOUSLY please.
Because at this point…I am taking my frustration out on my twin sister. :)

Andrea
(don’t let the silly pix rabbit-trail ya…you gotta give me your thought on my post…you simply gotta or I shall remain “stuck”…and it could get alot uglier than just attacking my twin sister ;)
“The true Church preaches REGENERATION; not reformation, not education, not legislation, but regeneration.” —M.R. DeHaan

Weird, amazing, odd… yes … those have been my last several days.

 It’s been SUCH a weird, whacked, thrilling, exhausting, and just different last several days.


We’ve been anticipating the actual “launch” of my husband’s new book….and it was YESTERDAY!


Jim is pretty fabulous at not getting his hopes to high….but I’m not :)  

So, the better and better the day went in regards to the “launch” the more surreal, happy, and odd the day seemed.


We are SO thankful that this opportunity came his way. It was a challenge though…he had deadlines, editors, interviews, etc….during the last year while I have continued to have both good and bad days in regards to my (stupid) PTSD.


This book is ‘just paper and words’ to some…but  …. between the two of us …. it is a symbol of perseverance, God’s Providence, and of our commitment to each other to fight through the hard times…even if they are really, really, really hard some days.


So…that was all odd yet happy. 

Now, I think I’ll let some pictures speak a bit now in regards to why the last few days have also been…well…kinda like our normal crazy but more ‘intense’ for some reason…


Somebody tell me these pictures aren’t just a LITTLE crazy!


For heaven’s sake…little girl that hoards, little boy that adores marsupials …. reptiles …. 


When I look at the pictures on my camera sometimes I, literally, laugh at loud at US.  We just are not very normal :)  


I’ve come to terms with it. But I will NEVER come to terms with holding a sugar glider on my arm…….ever.  I try. I try. But nope. It’s not in this city girl to have a mini-demonic animal crawling all over her. 


Though Zane seems to have no problem with it. These dang Sugar Gliders…they can sense my fear! :)

 z

We added a “eye-lash crested gecko” to Zane’s collection..cuz..ya know..the boy doesn’t have enough animals :)


It was actually an award for doing something he was terrified of (competing at the Tae Kwon Do Tournament last weekened)


We never, and I really mean never, “bribe” our kids for good behavior … such as “Johnny, if you are good at the grocery store you can have a sucker.”  

However, we DO reward for achieving LIFE SKILLS.


Now, if Johnny REALLY has issues (like Tye used too) about not screaming, thrashing, and yelling for help in public (smile) then we would tell him, “Tye, if you act nice, do not scream, or hit, you can have a hot wheels car at the checkout lane” b/c for TYE that WAS achieving a life skill.


Anyways, “Mallie” came into our lives because it takes alot for a kid with Zane’s wiring (rather be behind the scenes like his Daddy kinda kid) to get up in front of hundreds of people, and his little friends, and attempt to break boards.  

The deal was as long as he stepped foot onto the mat and acknowledged the judges, did his best, and walked off mat without running (smile) he’s get a new reptile.


The boy got THIRD in his age-bracket. I mighta been “played” but…I’m okay with that. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last.


We have had a kid or two say, “But MOM! Getting to the 432nd level of XYZ game on the PlayStaion IS a life skill! I deserve a new game.“  Even I, the Momma who struggles with “NO”, can say “NUH-UH but thank you for trying honey” to that line!

 

SHUDDER!!!!!!

Although I do like “Mallie”. He/She (can’t tell till it is 3 mos old) feels like suede!!!  

And he/she/it leaps in little springy jumps that are pretty cute :)  


Please, God, let her live :)

As I mentioned, we had a pretty major Tae Kwon Do tournament this last weekend. “Major” because we only attend two or three, at most, a year.


This is a SUPERB opportunity for my home-schooled (ya know…unsocialized, weird, only happy with adults, can’t make eye contact, only wear hiking boots) kids to step up to the plate, of sorts, in a public fashion and “perform”.  

It is a necessary life skill to be able to handle the stress of public speaking, etc.  The tournaments give our (oh so odd) homeschooled kids a chance to hone this skill.

(ya’ll know I’m playin’ ya with the weirdo homeschool kid thang. It’s fun. I can get people all worked up :)

The boys have to write on their “boards” the kick they are doing so the “board holder” knows which way to hold the board. I find this adorable for some reason. 
Maybe it is because they spelled the words correctly?!!  smile

It’s not only “board breaking” competition..There’s also “Forms”, “Sparring”, and “Weapons”.

Trey got a hard life lesson when he did not medal in “Forms”. 
There were some quiet tears. I wanted to hug and slurp all over him but I, you’ll be SO proud of me, just sat quietly beside him in the bleachers to let him know I was there and only whispered, “I know you are upset. But I am proud of you.”  
After a bit a gave him a little squeeze and walked away…He did not deserve a medal and he knew it. But, it was still hard.

Chase competed in “Forms” (Placed Second :) , “Sparring” (Placed Second :) ; and “Breaking” (Placed Third:)

I was SO SO SO happy when Trey, deservedly, won First place in “Breaking”.  It soothed his little sport’s mans heart a bit after losing at “Forms”. 
But, at the same time, I am glad, in a weird way, that he learned the lesson he did by NOT winning in “Forms”. Is that so mean to say?!!

Ready to start the board-breakin’!!!

 (Yes, Trey is going to run from the other corner, jump over those three kids crouched on the mat, and break a board his Coach (the guy in purple) will be holding. AND…he did it with STYLE peeps..STYLE!)

 Zane KILLIN’ that board…remember..there was a reptile at stake :)
 After a competitor has performed, he/she must turn away from the judge’s table and wait for scoring. 

I always think they look so lonely out there all by themselves…wondering how they did…feet, arms, hands, etc hurts from whatever they just competed in! 


The judges hold up the score for the scorekeeper to see…and…if you get in the right spot, a spectator can see the scores too.

After scores are recorded, competitor must turn back around and bow off the mat.

 SEE!! HE LOOKS SO LONELY UP THERE (that’s Trey).  They should let the Momma’s come hold their hands while they wait. That should really be a new rule. I think I’ll write a letter. I’m sure it will be well-received..cough cough.

Chase and Jim has this “bond” now. They both have gruesome “boy sport feet”. Here, Jim is trying to wrap Chase’s toes to lessen the pain. 
Jim comes home from playin’ basketball several times a week…limping…cuz of a TOE?! 

Good Heavens Men. Try giving BIRTH. fer real. (giggle)

 Chase is a natural-born athlete. One of those annoying males who is good at most sports he tries. 

When we found his birthmomma in Russia, in the letter she wrote him, she said “HE MUST be in SPORTS” …. She would be pleased because Chase excels in them.


The funny thing with Chase, though…is that he is “good” at sports but feels “bad” winning alot. WHA?? 

When he was in the Championship Match to decide First Place and Second Place for “Sparring”…He was LAUGHING because he didn’t want to kick his opponent as hard as we were all screaming for him too!

One of his Coaches said, “Chase is the most annoying kid to watch in a Sparring match! He is SO good at it but he is TOO NICE!”  AND another Coach said, “If Chase kicked as often as he talked, he would be unbeatable!” SO TRUE!!   hahahaha 

Personally, I think it’s from living with little siblings for years and wrestling around with them but never “hurting” them.  Now here we are all yelling..

“Get in there Chase”

“Kick Him!”

“CONNECT ON THE KICK CHASE!”

and he’s gotta be like…”HUH? This is so weird.”  [huge laugh]



 So, You ask….where is TYE? He is in Tae Kwon Do (achieving new belts on a regular basis…booyah!!!) 


Well….Tye has a bit..no…a large attitude the morning of the tournament. Attitude as in kicking, stomping, yelling, throwing…etc. (Parenting is SOOOOO fun, yeah?!)


Dad warned him, “Tye, if you do NOT stop yelling and kicking, you are NOT in the Tournament today.”


Now, I know Tye is all of ya’lls favorite cuz he has so many “difficulites” and cuz he’s stinkin’ cute….BUT..I PROMISE that Tye COMPLETELY understood Dad’s words. So…HERE is TYE at the TOURNAMENT …


Nuf Said. ?!  

So…that’s been my last few weird, crazy, happy, thrilling, exhausting, and odd days.

I wonder what the next few will hold??!!

Andrea
(this is what Mommys and Daughters do when they are “OVER” boy stuff. They go into the bathroom where there is a  full length mirror and take funny pictures of each other :)

A little video tirade about the Christian community and mental illness. Oh. and we have a pregnant dog :)


How was that for a tirade couched between cute kids?
Makes me seem less scary :)

Welp.

Ya knows I gotta post some pics of my crew after that video tirade cuz now I feel ‘purged’ and can get on with my good ol’ self again.

ONE MORE NOTE!

IF you are someone who deals with what I addressed in my blog OR a Christian who thinks what I said was ludicrious please email me at:  andreacockrum at yahoo dot com or find me on Facebook under my my full name: Andrea Lowe Cockrum.  

I would love to chat with you…from whichever side of this you are coming from. I am ALWAYS open to new information and love making friends, especially where there’s a common thread already established.

Okay…pix :)

Tye WANTED “blue” hair…I SWEAR I had NOTHING to do with this request! 
DOUBLE PINKY SWEAR!


 I thought he looked SO ADORABLE like this…but he refused to keep it ‘just bleached’. (btw: do you know how hard it is to truly ‘bleach’ asian hair???? It had to be on his twice the amount of time…!).

He demanded his “BLUE”…and…He got it!


I have no idea what he’s doing other than being deliciously adorable.

Then…today…

I got to spend a bit o’ time in my still totally wrecked Art Studio but twas fun to have paint on my hands again…LUV having paint on my hands…LUV it :)

 My twinnie needed this “vintage” window pair turned into a table display for her and her husband’s fundraising needs.  She wanted it to look like a ” really old Indian window” and then I put henna-ish designs on the corners. She’ll put picture of their work in the window panes, etc.

 AMY actually PAINTED! That’s equivalent to me RUNNING (and not just after a good sale at the mall but actually running in running shoes outside in nature)

When your daughter says, “Momma, you need to paint while you wear a tiara” You ALWAYS say YES!

 Maybe a perfect afternoon for me…painting with my kids :) My sis was there too :)

 The kids make “gift bags” …. we are going to work on spelling this year in school.
bwwwhahahahahaha

So.

There ya go.

A video tirade.

Cute kids acting weird on video.

Pictures of our daily lives.

I think that consists of a full blog post, eh?!

PLEASE LET ME KNOW, via a comment here or SOMETHING PEEPS, of your thoughts about my idea on the “church” and the “mental illness” issues.

I think the “Church” needs a seminar or something on “Mental Illness” issues :)

I’ll lead it.

errrr…..maybe not?

Andrea

Perfectionism really is a curse. I’m shakin’ if off…Join me.

Do you all wake up and immediately think of ALL that you ‘want’ to get done that day?

And then do you go to sleep thinking, “DANG. I didn’t get any of that done.”

I do.

Pretty much everyday.
I think it is the curse … and I mean that literally…the CURSE of perfectionism.

Perfectionism is NOT a good quality. It makes a person all wound up, it keeps others at bay, it makes the bearer of ‘the curse’ feel disappointed in themselves (for no good reason), and it keeps the really IMPORTANT things (like being calm and hanging out in an easy-going style with kids, friends) hard to accomplish.

Lucky for me…Post Traumatic Stress has required that I address my ‘curse’ and tone it DOWN.  I am doing a ‘better’ job of it…but not ‘perfect’…bwwwhahahhahaha….(I’m hysterical, no?!)

My Dad was a perfectionist.

He ran his own business, our family, and his social life with ‘perfection’ … but….he was only able to truly ‘relax’ when he was out, away from ‘life’, on our little boat, speeding down the Ohio River.

I don’t have my Dad here to ‘pick his brain’ about how to conquer perfectionism….I saw him have to “give it all up” in regards to ‘appearances, money, style, etc” when he battled cancer for two years.  
A battle with cancer can strip a person down to their inner-core, leaving only the basics. And that is what happened to my Dad.

I ‘watched’ it happen but my Dad never talked about how it felt, how to do it, etc. He was not much of a “talker” in that regards. 

Actually, today is the anniversary of his death. He has been in a MUCH better place, without pain, for 17 yrs now.

So, here I am sorta learning the same lesson (though to a less severe degree thankfully)…and wishing I had him to turn to for questions.

But…

I suppose simply acknowledging that ‘perfectionism’ is NOT something to be ‘esteemed’ is a giant step forward for those under it’s ‘curse’.

Writing this blog has helped me peel away my facade that ‘perfectionism’ had built up over the years, having kids has certainly helped, and … add in PTSD … well … I think I am learning that…

Even though I may still have the “perfectionist” thoughts…

I am learning that they really are not TRUTH.

That the REALLY important things in life are not the things I can control…but the things that are out of my control and that I need to simply stand back, in awe, and enjoy.

Love you guys…

Andrea
 I swear she dressed herself…and…I ‘might’ know why she dresses the way she does … mmmwwhaahhaha

(Here are some pix from my nephews football game…Mind you…this guy was living and educating in Calcutta, India a mere few months ago. Talk about adaptable!  Being on the football team was his idea… Crazy Boys.)
 My nephew is the one smiling towards #61 :)   He is named after our Dad, “Bruce”.  Bruce was born about two years after our Dad passed away.
 Part of Bruce’s Rat Pack Cheerleader Team :)
 I think he waves so I would stop screaming his name…. :) )  Yes, I am “that” kind of Auntie.
 The “Rat Pack” pretending to be Cheerleaders fer real :) ) ha
 Aven…in her own world…dancing :) I think she’s ready for dance class to start next week, what do you think?! 
 Bruce got IN THE GAME this week!!  Not bad for a boy that used to think “football” was “futbol”…as in soccer :)   I am really proud of how he goes for what he wants.
***************************************************
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your opinions about PERFECTIONISM.
Do you deal with it?
Do you have friends/family who do and how it makes you feel…etc 
Addendum:  (smile)
After I wrote this…My mind was wandering about it. Through the curves and hidden paths that thoughts can travel.
I had another sort of ‘revelation’ …. though it may not be for some.
“Perfectionism” is exceptionally selfish behavior.
It makes those around you feel that they ‘never measure up’.  I experienced this with my Dad as a pre-teen and teen…though I know it was never his malicious intention to make me feel this way.
I want to be on guard that I do not make others feel ‘less’ because of MY fault.
Lots to think about…